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The UK’s Most Unique Animal Experiences

The UK’s Most Unique Animal Experiences
28 October 2021 James Brooke

Experts at Yonder share the animal encounters that will help you feel that little bit closer to nature this World Animal Day.

From the truly wild to the more domestic, there are so many animal experiences to be enjoyed here in the UK. To celebrate this World Animal Day (4 October), Yonder – new travel brand offering responsible, authentic, nature-rich stays and experiences – highlights some lesser-known animal encounters that can be enjoyed amidst the beauty of British land- or seascapes.

Whether you dream of taking alpacas for a stroll or heading out on to the deep blue, read on for Yonder’s tips on the weird, wonderful and thrilling animal encounters that will bring you joy, create lasting memories and in the process, help you get that little bit closer to the natural world around us.

Spot badgers in Dorset

Possibly one of the most elusive of all British wildlife, wild badgers are often difficult to find. And considering their surprising size, it’s hard to believe they go undetected.

If you’ve given up on your quest to find one in your own back yard, there are several spots in the UK that can almost guarantee you a glimpse of these hard-to-find creatures.

On Dorset’s Old Henley Farm, guests can sit in two spacious hides as the sun goes down and floodlights kick in. From rabbits to foxes, the best of British wildlife will be illuminated in front of you for all to see, but when it comes to the badger, be patient – they may just take a little while longer to emerge from the shadows.

Go whale watching in Scotland

Whale and dolphin watching may be on your bucket list to complete during trips to far flung countries, but you might be surprised to discover it’s actually achievable here in the UK.

One of the best locations to catch a glimpse of these giants of the ocean is in Scotland. Minke whale are your most likely spot, with dolphins and porpoises often seen in the area too. The stretch of water called the Minches, between the mainland and the islands of Tiree, Coll and Mull are known to be minke whale spotting hotspots.

If you’re incredibly lucky, you may also get to see the jaw-dropping humpback whale passing through the northwest coast of Scotland, around the Hebrides. It’s not the most common of sights, but it’s thought that humpbacks are starting to make a comeback in Scottish waters, as they pass through on their way down to the African tropics from October to March.

See wild boars in the Forest of Dean

While wild boars may be native to the UK, up until the 1990’s they had seemingly disappeared from the British Countryside after being hunted to extinction across the country. But after an unsanctioned release from a farm in the Ross-on-Wye area, wild boar have started to grow in numbers, with over 1,000 thought to be roaming the Wye Valley.

Although numbers are on the up, it’s still quite rare to catch a glimpse of the largely nocturnal creatures, but if you do encounter wild boar on your adventures, stay still and keep your distance. Boar are typically in female led groups and it’s advised not to come between the sow and her piglets. Although the may look cute, boar certainly aren’t as friendly as their domesticated counterparts.

Enjoy a safari style walk in Kent

If you think the only way to enjoy a safari experience is to spend thousands travelling out to Africa, then think again. In fact, there are walks here in the UK that will see you catching a glimmer of some of the big five without spending a penny.

If it’s giraffes you’re after, take the 4km public Lympne Loop footpath in Kent to get a look at the tallest mammals in the world. With the trail bordering on some of the animal enclosures at Port Lympne Reserve, you can watch in awe as these majestic creatures go about their business without even having to book.

Still in Kent, a hidden off-road path will reveal a whole world of glorious wildlife as it guides walkers past the elephant enclosure at Howletts Wildlife Park. The Narnia-like trail will eventually open up and take you over two footbridges which offer breath-taking views across the elephant and rhino enclosures, as well as the beautiful Kent countryside.

Watch beavers in Cornwall

After 400 years of extinction in the UK, beavers are making a comeback. And now, for the first time in centuries, you can catch a glimpse of these chubby-cheeked rodents in Cornwall.

The size of a tubby spaniel, these adorable creatures have been reintroduced into a fenced off large area of woodland to allow researchers to study their impact on the environment.

If you want to see the beavers in action, you can get a spot on the Cornwall Beaver Project’s weekly beaver walks that take place from spring through to autumn. Visitors can see the beaver dams in daylight, then sit until dusk to watch the animals as they emerge from their hideaways.

Walk Alpacas in East Sussex

It seems everyone is fan of the woolly alpaca these days and now you can get even closer, with alpaca walking experiences available across the UK. A stroll through the British countryside with an alpaca friend in tow is certain to put a smile on your face and is said to even help you relax.

Alpaca walking at Spring Farm Alpacas in East Sussex will see you strolling through the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, all while your new alpaca pal plods along beside you. Even better, as you make your way round their 110 acre farm, you’ll spot lots of wildlife that the farm has encouraged along the way.

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About Yonder
Yonder is a global platform that brings travel, nature, and wellbeing together to provide fulfilling escapes and experiences.

Yonder believes that reconnecting people with nature will help heal the planet and humankind – and the stays and activities it offers support this connection.

Yonder Stewards range from owners of rural properties to those who are actively regenerating local ecosystems and communities.

Established in Montana in 2018 by Tim Southwell and expanding across Europe, Yonder is a member of 1% for the Planet and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and a Public Benefit Corporation in the US. Yonder is also in the process of achieving Certified B Corporation Status. The company has secured $4 million in funding from US-based investors.

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